Performance & Hotrod Business - April '15

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April 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 99 softer light for inside their homes and the harsher, cooler light for their shops because it's brighter. The Three Ts Here's a quick explanation of the different fluorescent tube sizes: the "T" refers to how many eighths of an inch in diameter the bulb is; the T12 tube is over twice as big as the narrow T5. T5 = 5/8" T8 = 1" T12 = 1-1/2" Staying with Fluorescent Some people feel the color of the LED lights are just too cold and harsh and that the light beam is not broad enough yet. Folks who want to stay with fluorescent can do so by switching from T12s to T5s or T8s. Shop owner Gene Lynch was one per- son who did just that. "I started out using conversion kits to convert T12 fixtures to T8. This was around $35 apiece. After a couple of these, the lighting company said they could sell me new fixtures for around the same price, so I bought all new ones. Now T5s Daylights with 6400K color are even brighter and should be in the same price range. These are 8-foot-long fixtures, but the bulbs are only 4 feet so each fixture has four bulbs. These all use new, small digital ballasts and it's very reasonable to purchase replacements compared to the old, heavy tar ballasts. My friend just installed T5s and is happy with how bright they are. Our ceilings are 9 to 12 feet tall." T5 fluorescent also comes in a wide range of color temperatures and lumen outputs, including cool white 4100K— 850 lumens at 16 watts; to natural light 5000K—4800 lumens at 54 watts. There are T5 bulbs for just about any color tem- perature and brightness you need. Light Emitting Diode or LED Lighting Over the last year, LED lighting has quickly become the industry standard with the technology improving as fast as these lights are selling. And as the technol- ogy improves the prices drop, making the lights more affordable than ever. Here are some of the advantages of LED lighting. Mercury-Free – Unlike fluorescents, LEDs contain no mercury. This makes them safe for the environment and results in no recycling fees. Dimmable – Many LEDs have full dim- ming capabilities, whereas fluorescents are expensive to dim and do so poorly. Directional Lighting – LEDs offer direc- tional light (illumination exactly where you need it). On the other hand, fluores- cents have multi-directional light, which means some light is lost in the fixture and other unnecessary places. Work Well with Controls – Fluorescent lights tend to burn out faster when inte- grated with occupancy sensors and other controls. In contrast, LEDs work perfectly with control systems, since their life is not affected by turning them on/off. Quality Light – Today's LEDs produce light in a variety of color temperatures similar to fluorescent, but don't have any flickering issues that can happen with fluorescent. Lifespan – The average life of a T8 LED is 50,000 hours, versus only 30,000 hours for an average T8 LFL. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that there are now lin- ear fluorescent T8 lamps that last up to 84,000 hours. Shop Owners Weigh In Some may complain that LEDs have a lower lumen-per-watt ratio than fluo- rescents, but the average LED shop light averages around 3700K lumens. That's pretty bright. And the directional nature of the LED light ensures you get a greater concentration of light exactly where you need it. So I talked to a few shop owners. "I noticed the shadows when I was doing really tedious things and they were driving me nuts," says Mike Vandevior. "I had gotten to a point of wearing a head- lamp. The fluorescent lights I had just weren't cutting it, plus they would always go out. So I got several Utilitech Pro LED Here's a close-up look at the Big Ass Garage Light. It puts out 13,000 lumens. Lumaiii's Aurora Spray Gun Light is great for those places that are hard to see in the light of the booth, like along the low- er rocker panels. Side-by-side comparison, using LED replacement bulbs. The new LED fixtures have been hung directly over the old T12 fluorescent fixture with T12 bulbs. In the top picture, both the new LED lights and the old fluorescents are turned on. Note how inconsistent the old T12s are. The bottom photo gives a bet- ter idea as the old fixtures are not on and the much brighter LED light really lights up the shop.

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